Sixty years on from 1950s Los Angeles, No Helmets Required tells the story of 20 young American footballers convinced by entrepreneur Mike Dimitro to fly off around the world playing rugby league - a game they'd never even heard of. Miraculously, the American All Stars competed with the best Australia, New Zealand and France had to offer, and shocked the locals with some stunning victories. Yet beyond the media circus and celebrity adventures, the All Stars had fights and flings, suffered tragic illness and farcical court cases. Dimitro's mission to establish rugby league in the United States failed in spectacular fashion - though one All Star went on to win the Super Bowl, one became a Hollywood stuntman and another an Olympic champion. One player founded a church; another was murdered. The emergence of their remarkable story coincides with the USA's first ever qualification for the Rugby League World Cup, in 2013.
Publisher: Pitch Publishing Ltd
Number of pages: 224
Weight: 454 g
Dimensions: 240 x 160 x 25 mm
"A superb book. Retold in a gripping and unique manner. Absolutely staggering ... littered with fascinating and unique insights. Highly recommended for any rugby league fan and even non-followers of the sport could not fail to be captivated." --Rugby League World
"No Helmets Required is an amazing story, one I've never heard before and I love it when that happens. It's a fantastic book." --Matt Williams, BBC Radio 2
"There have been several candidates for the greatest rugby league story never told ... for sheer off-beat fascination though, there is nothing to beat the story of the American All Stars of 1953, and Gavin Willacy has done them more than justice by shining a light into a dark corner. No Helmets Required took him ten years to research and write and it shows, because it is a magnificent piece of work. A fitting memorial to a gang of young men, Willacy tells their story vividly and makes it a satisfying read which I would recommend to any enthusiast." --Dave Hadfield, Forty-20 magazine